Asthma UK community forum
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New member - my story

Hi to everyone. My names Sonia. Ive had asthma since I was 2 (Im now 36) which has mainly been kept under control by numerous puffs of ventolin, the occasional puff of a preventer inhalfer if/when I remembered and an occasional short course of steroids in an emergency. I must admit that I have very much taken my asthma for granted and seen it more as an inconvenience than a seious disease. However on Boxing Day everything changed. I had my first severe asthma attack which came out of nowhere - id had the sniffles and a bit of a cough in the build up to Xmas but nothing unusual. I woke up wheezy and coughing and cannot begin to describe the panic I felt when I realised my inhalers were not helping. A nightmare trip to A&E followed where I was given 5 nebs in succession and a dose of steroids, none of which helped. I then had a chest xray and was left on a holding ward for 4 hours whilst the attack got progressively worse. Finally my boyfriend, on the 4th attempt, managed to get a doctor to check me again - by this time I was also having a major panic attack as it seemed to me that I was the only person who realised how serious my asthma was. The doctor took blood to test my oxygen levels and came back some 10 minutes later in a complete panic (which obviously frightened me even more). By this time I thought I was going to pass out - whether through lack of oxygen or the panic attack I couldnt tell. I was then rushed straight down to the high dependancy unit attached to a magnesium drip, antibiotics, a heart monitor (which kept going off and frightening my poor boyfriend even more) and 100% oxygen. 24 hours later, stabalised, I was transferred to the respiratory ward where I spent the next 8 days having 4 hourly nebs, 80mg of pred and various new inhalers. It was THE most terrifying experience of my life, the first few days when I could not even walk to the toilet without having to rest with an oxygen mask clamped to my face, are indescribable. And the people I met on that ward will stay with me forever, I wont go into detail except to say that many of them were in a much worse position than myself. It made me realise just how lucky I had been, particularly as I had completely abused my asthma, smoking since I was 14 years old (a nice 30 a day habit) and only randomly taking my inhalers when I felt a bit wheezy etc. Having been home for almost a month I have had plenty of time to reflect. My consultant gave me a long lecture and plenty of literature on my discharge, hence how I found this website. I have read many of the posts over the last few days and realise that I am still one of the lucky ones. I am now a non smoker and will never go back to it. My peak flow is still only averaging around 350 (it used to be 450) but I am improving daily. My steroid course finishes on Friday and, apart from gaining a stone in weight and having an appetite you have to see to believe, I have had no ill effects and hope to go back to work next week. When I first came home I could not see any improvement, I was very emotional and although I have had asthma since I was a baby, this was a whole new experience for me - i felt like i had just been diagnosed. But thankfully, I received my wake up call in time for me to do something about it. I have just started exercising again and am delighted that the inhalers I am taking - qvar and oxis - seem to be doing the trick and I do not need to take ventolin at all anymore. This morning I managed to run for a whole 3 minutes on a treadmill, not bad for someone who couldnt even get up the stairs a couple of weeks ago!! This prompted me to do 2 things - the first was to join this website because I wanted to share this with people who would understand and the second was to look into taking part in something to recognise that I do indeed have asthma and so do many other people who are in a much worse position than myself. I am hoping to take part in the adidas womens challenge 5km run in September on behalf of AUK. Bearing in mind I have never even run for a bus this will be the biggest challenge I have ever faced!! Please wish me luck. I will let you know how I am progressing. S xx

6 Replies

Hi Sonia!

Welcome to AUK,

sorry it has taken a severe attack for you to join us here and glad you are recovering well and taking your inhalers. Please ask us anything here you like no mater how trivial it may seem. Glad you have given up the fags too!

Anyway, having a goal such as the 5km run is fantastic - go for it! Bu do ask your GP for advice on the training etc. Keep us updated!

Steroid munchies - horrrid!

I am in Mid Essex area - which hospital did you end up in?


Take care



Sorry to hear you had such a rough old time with your asthma. and welcome to AUK as kate said feel free to ask any questions you may need answering everyone here at AUK is only to happy to help in anyway they can Take care xxx



Hi Kate & Kerri-anne

thanks to you both for getting back to me. Its great to know that there are people in a similar position as I felt very alone over the Christmas hols when the attack took place.. I live in Grays Kate (although originally from Dagenham). I was in Basildon hospital and I have to say the nurses in both the HDU and the resp ward were fantastic (it was only the stressed out and overworked A&E staff that were a nightmare although to be fair there were apparently 70 odd resp problems in A&E on Boxing Day with this nasty chest infection that seems to be doing the rounds at the moment so I dont want to criticize too harshly). Where in Essex are you?


Hey sonia hope you are feeling better. Had 2 reply im currently in basildon hospital! Florence nightingale ward When did u go home ive been here since the 3rd. Thank god for wap lol! Who is your consultant mines dr yung. The other two dr samuels and dr mukerjee are rather scary lol! Anyway take care clare x


Florence NIghtingale ward

Hi Clare.

I was on Florence Nightingale ward as well. Consultant was Dr Murkhajee (although I think I only saw him once in the 8 days I was there). I went home on 3rd so mustve just missed you. I have to say New Years Eve on Flo ward was a blast - the nurse stuck a neb on me at about 2 minutes to 12 so I couldnt even phone anyone to wish them happy new year!! The nurses were lovely though - however I wasnt too keen on Marta the foreign girl who came round to take the food orders - you'll know who I mean - she shouted all the time (and kept waking me up !!) I think she was just showing off because she had the breath to shout! haha. I wish you better and hope you are home soon. Sonia x


Haha that martas not been here that long they used 2 just leave the menu cards for u 2 fill in but she dosnt lol. Was there a lady in your bay called beryl? Being in hospital new years eve grrr! No fun!


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